Head coach Paula Dunn reflects on the success of some of this year’s GB World Para Athletics Championships team-members and looks ahead to the London event
Five years after watching many rising British stars shine at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Paula Dunn is proud to see Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies and Jonnie Peacock among those leading the GB team for next month’s World Para Athletics Championships back in the UK capital.
A 51-strong squad has been named for the event in London, to be held from July 14-23, and Dunn is pleased with the mix of both youth and experience.
“I’m really happy with the team selection,” says the former sprinter, who became GB para athletics head coach in November 2012 and was a key member of Peter Eriksson’s coaching staff at the London Paralympics.
“When I look at athletes like Jonnie, Aled and Hannah, they were in the first group of athletes I looked after when I started.
“To have seen them in 2012 winning medals and to go right through to Rio and then come back to the London Stadium once again is absolutely brilliant.
“They are now our senior athletes and they are really good role models.”
A total of 21 Rio Paralympic medallists, including 10 champions, will be joined at the London Stadium by a quartet of debutants – T13 sprinter and jumper Zak Skinner, T20 athlete Martina Barber, T38 runner Jack Gladman and T42 long jumper Luke Sinnott – who will pull on the senior GB vest for the first time.
Among those 10 Rio gold medallists are Cockroft, Davies, Peacock and Richard Whitehead, all of whom also topped the podium at the London Paralympics five years ago and will be hoping for similar success at the same venue in the coming weeks.
Since stepping into her current role, on a world level Dunn’s GB teams have won no fewer than 29 medals, including 11 gold, at the 2013 Championships in Lyon, and 31 medals, including 13 gold, in Doha in 2015.
This time the target is 26 to 30 medals.
“Success breeds success and I’m a great believer in that,” Dunn explains. “So people coming into the team know what the expectation is.
“I want everybody to compete as well as they can and enjoy the experience. If you do those two things, success generally comes.”
» The full GB team for the World Para Athletics Championships can be found listed here